Water Law

Water law is the body of law that governs the ownership, use, and control of water as a natural resource. While Nevada’s first water statute was enacted nearly 150 years ago, current water law statutes in Nevada provide the flexibility to accommodate new and growing uses of Nevada’s water resources.

Nevada law explicitly states that all waters in the State of Nevada are public property. Rights under Nevada water law is based upon two long-standing fundamental concepts: prior appropriation (“first in time, first in right”) and beneficial use. Under the beneficial use statute, water can be appropriated for the beneficial uses as provided for in chapters 532 through 538 of the Nevada Revised Statutes (N.R.S.).

In order to establish a new water right in Nevada, a person must file an application to appropriate water with the state engineer. The state engineer is responsible for administering and enforcing Nevada’s water laws, including overseeing the appropriation, distribution, and management of the state’s surface and groundwater.

Water Law Practice

At the law offices of R. Vaughn Gourley, P.C. our water law attorneys are fully capable of handling all of your water rights issues. Whether you require assistance in the application process with the Nevada State Water Engineer or need legal representation before any governmental agency or court, our lawyers stand prepared to represent you. If you would like to speak with one of our attorneys about a water law matter or if you have any questions about our water law practice, please give us a call or use the Contact us section of our website to inquire about a particular matter or question.